For more than two years, Ohio State has led the effort to investigate and expose Richard Strauss’ abuse and the university’s failure at the time to prevent it. We express our deep regret and apologies to all who experienced Strauss’ abuse.
Strauss was a university employed physician from 1978 to 1998. He died in 2005. Ohio State is a fundamentally different university today and over the past 20 years, has committed substantial resources to prevent and address sexual misconduct. These actions include new policies, programs, staffing and tools throughout the university, including athletics and the medical center. They are summarized here.
Upon learning of allegations from decades ago in spring 2018, Ohio State immediately announced an independent investigation. The university reached out broadly to 115,000 alumni and former student athletes who attended Ohio State during Strauss’ employment at the university and to 147,000 current students, faculty and staff to inform them of the investigation and encourage them to share any information they had with the independent investigators. The university kept the community informed throughout the course of the investigation, creating a website for documents and updates, providing periodic public reports on the progress, and publishing the findings of the independent investigation and all relevant public records online. Ohio State has also welcomed survivors to share their experiences with university leadership and the Board of Trustees.
In May 2020, Ohio State finalized a $40.9 million settlement with 162 survivors. At the time, Rick Schulte, lead negotiator for the plaintiffs’ firms, stated, “Working with Ohio State, we established an independent confidential process to evaluate each claim individually. The process will account for wide variations in abuse and provide a pathway for survivor healing. One hundred percent of 162 survivors in this settlement decided against further litigation and agreed to participate. The participation rate speaks to the quality of this settlement!” The university remains in active mediation with the remaining plaintiffs.
Since February 2019, Ohio State has been covering the cost of professionally certified counseling services and treatment for anyone affected, as well as reimbursing costs for preexisting counseling and treatment related to Strauss. To connect with these services, or if individuals are at all uncertain about how to proceed and have questions, please contact Praesidium at 888-961-9273 or visit https://website.praesidiuminc.com/wp/osu/. There is no limit to the counseling and treatment, and it will continue to be offered as long as anyone needs it.
Counseling and treatment are part of a continuing effort to address Strauss’ abuse, beginning with the university of today leading the effort to investigate. The day the investigation findings were released, Ohio State announced the revocation of Strauss’ emeritus status. The university has also established a task force on sexual abuse, whose membership includes national and Ohio State experts who are partnering with survivors of sexual abuse to further inform and advance this important work.